How can he possibly be serious? Not satisfied with the two absurdly unqualified ideologues already appointed to a so-called "expert" review panel for new public school social studies curriculum standards, Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy wants another that could be even worse. And he has been lobbying other board members hard to make that appointment. TFN Insider has learned that McLeroy wants to appoint to the panel Allen Quist, a Minnesotan whose politics are so extreme that he suffered a humiliating landslide defeat in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor of his home state in 1994. If Quist is an "expert" in anything, it's not in social studies. It's in promoting the nation's divisive "culture wars" Quist originally made a name for himself as a radical anti-abortion crusader who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. In his 1980 book The Abortion Revolution, Quist even compares abortion to Hitler’s murder of millions of Jews. Even before his run for governor, Quist demonstrated his obsession with sexual morality, especially regarding homosexuality and pornography. He even conducted a personal undercover "investigation" into an adult bookstore. Today he makes…… Read More

Outrageous claims in an effort to win Senate confirmation of Don McLeroy as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education reveal once again how vicious and dishonest the far right can be. As we reported Wednesday, the Senate Nominations Committee has forwarded McLeroy's nomination to the full Senate for a vote (probably next week). Here's what we're seeing in right-wing blogs and e-mails:…… Read More

UPDATE: Click here to see video of the committee vote.

In a surprise meeting on the Senate floor, the Senate Nominations Committee in Austin has just approved the appointment of Don McLeroy as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. It appears that McLeroy’s supporters plan to bring his confirmation to the full Senate early next week. Confirmation will require a two-thirds vote.

Committee Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, had said he would not bring up McLeroy’s confirmation for a vote in committee unless he thought there were enough votes to get it in the full Senate. We don’t know at this point whether opposition from nearly all Democrats and some Republicans has softened, but the signs are alarming.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s critical that you contact your senator and tell him or her that you oppose McLeroy’s confirmation. You can find the name and contact information for your senator here.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller has released the following statement:

“If the Texas Senate genuinely cares about quality public education, they will reject as state board chairman a man who apparently agrees that parents who… Read More

Ever wonder how a widely used math textbook could illegally promote "New Age religion"? If not, you clearly don't share the same wild imagination as creationists in Texas do. Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, seems to have taken on the role of chief defender of the board's creationist faction. Now he's criticizing editorials in newspapers across the state that are calling on the Texas Senate to reject the confirmation of Don McLeroy, R-College Station, as board chairman. Mr. Mercer portrays himself, Chairman McLeroy and their allies on the board as champions of reform doing battle with "education bureaucrats and lobbyists" -- "educrats," he calls them. Among the "victories" he points to in this "reform" campaign are the board's rejection of a mathematics textbook two years ago and the adoption of new curriculum standards for language arts and science. Let's unpack this a little bit. Read More

Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, has been making the rounds of Senate offices this week with a lobbyist from Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas. The two are trying to turn the tide on McLeroy’s endangered confirmation for another term as board chairman. We hear from one Capitol office that McLeroy is telling folks he believes his confirmation hopes have been resuscitated.

Perhaps that’s just empty bravado before the gallows. But we are concerned that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has yet to assign to committee a constitutional amendment that would strip the state board of its authority over the Permanent School Fund. With elections looming next year, is Lt. Gov. Dewhurst looking to curry favor with social conservatives who support the state board? Is he also working now to win McLeroy’s confirmation? News reports have indicated that McLeroy’s confirmation is dead. But as we’ve said before: don’t assume anything in the last month of a legislative session.

Click here to find contact information for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. Tell him that you support HJR 77, the constitutional amendment that would put management of the Permanent School… Read More